The Premier says there will be enough vaccines for every Manitoban to receive two doses.

The province says they have made significant progress to ensure they are ready to launch a coordinated and effective vaccination campaign. Premier Brian Pallister says the vaccine will not be mandatory but says the province will be emphasizing the importance of the vaccine. 

“Quite simply, we want Manitobans to know that when the COVID-19 vaccine arrives, we will be ready,” Premier Brian Pallister says. “Our team of hundreds of dedicated Manitobans has been planning and preparing for months, for a vaccination campaign that will be unlike anything else this province has ever seen. We are assembling the necessary people, equipment and other resources so we can rapidly stand up a large-scale, ‘super site’ vaccine campaign, as soon as the vaccine is delivered.” 

In the upcoming months, a vaccine supply from the federal government will become available to residents. The distribution will be similar to a flu vaccine campaign.

"We have to be sure we are coordinated well," he says. "The coordination with the federal government is essential."

Pallister wants the federal government to take command of the distribution. There is no official plan to distribute the vaccine yet. The distribution will be based on priority groups. The premier says those priority groups have not been established, but notes front-line healthcare workers are expected to be among the first. 

The priority groups will be announced by the province in the upcoming weeks. 

He says there are material logistics, such as freezers, syringes, and needles that are being immediately addressed.

"We are getting ready," he says. "We are preparing every day. we will have a full plan to roll out."

Pallister says they do not know how many vaccines are coming, or when. He says the province is making a strategy to distribute the vaccine as they wait to hear from Ottawa. 

A freezer to hold the vaccines has been installed in the province. A total of 20 portable ultra-cold freezers have been ordered to house the doses.

The strategy is to bring people to vaccination sites to quickly vaccinate Manitobans. The province is looking at creating a workforce to focus on vaccines. 

Pallister is concerned about how the vaccine is distributed to the First Nations community, asking the federal government to take responsibility.

In the meantime, the province is ordering Songbird Hyris rapid-testing devices for frontline healthcare workers. The $40 million order will deliver 45,000 tests a month.

Communities outside of Winnipeg will be getting Abbott ID NOW tests to do rapid COVID-19 testing:

• Southern Health–Santé Sud – Steinbach (two units), Boundary Trails (two), Portage la Prairie (two) and Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes (one);
• Interlake–Eastern Regional Health Authority – Selkirk (two), Stonewall (one), Pine Falls (one), Gimli (one) and Ashern (one);
• Prairie Mountain Health – Dauphin (two), Neepawa (one), Virden (one), Killarney (one) and Russell (one); and
• Northern Regional Health Authority – Thompson/The Pas (one)

Teachers and staff at schools could also be getting rapid testing. Pallister says they are not planning to give students rapid testing.